Congratulations on one of the most important and emotional decisions of your life!

Marriage is a sacred act, ordained by God, blessed by Jesus Christ, to be held in honor by us all. Spiritually, the words and actions of this celebration create a covenant between you and God, transforming your identity from individuals to unity. This event is more than "going through a ritual," your wedding is a sacred vow, wherein you make a public profession of your faith in God, your commitment to each other, and define your relationship.

Every person formed and blessed by God is unique. Every couple is unique, living differing expectations, patterns and priorities from any other couple. Consequently, your wedding needs to be a unique celebration, which affirms and serves the faith and relationship you are creating. This celebration can be as elaborate or simple as you like.

Your “Wedding Day” calls up all the dreams and concerns you have ever had about getting married. This is a defining moment, in which you take responsibility for the relationship you will have as a couple, and all your future relationships with family and friends. The more decisions you can resolve as a couple in consultation with the pastor, the more control you will have over your wedding and marriage. At the same time, the more you can distribute specific jobs and responsibilities to individuals (passing out Bulletins, distributing boutonnieres, recording presents, etc.) the more support and ownership friends and family will demonstrate for your being married.

It is not necessary to be a member of this congregation, or denomination in order to be married at First Presbyterian Church, however you need to respect that this is not a Hall being rented, but our House of God entered for your celebration. There are several fees waived for members, who through membership have already provided for the establishment of this Church. If you are interested in becoming members of this congregation at anytime, please contact the pastor about this.



Because we take this celebration as a sacred responsibility before God, because we endeavor to make each celebration unique, because we have many weddings each year, and weddings are only a small part of the life of the Church, you will need to give as much time to planning your wedding as possible.

The staff will make every effort to accommodate your desires; however, you will need to contact the Church Office, for scheduling the date and time of your wedding and wedding rehearsal, before establishing any other details. Ordinarily, weddings do not take place before 11:00am nor after 7:00pm; usually on a Friday or Saturday, to accommodate your Out of Town guests; and do not take place on Christmas, Easter, or during Holy Week.

The pastor will meet with the couple at least three times prior to the wedding. The purpose of these meetings is to assess the couple's readiness for marriage, to discuss any concerns of either party, to plan all the details of the service.


Weddings can take place in any location from a Church Sanctuary to a Judge's Chambers, to a Gazebo, Lakefront, or Living Room. If the wedding is to take place in the Sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church, then there are some specific policies, which govern the use of the Church Sanctuary.
The Pulpit, Communion Table and Baptismal Font are the fixtures of the Sanctuary and need to be visible during the service.

Other ministers can be invited, by our pastor, to share in the blessing of the worship service with our pastor. Because this is our House of God, we do not rent out our Sanctuary for other pastors to use.

Soloists and accompanists are encouraged. Ordinarily, the Church Organist will play the pipe organ for all weddings, but experienced organists can also be used. Lists of musicians and vocalists are available from the Church Office.

Alcohol and smoking are not permitted in the Church building or in any of the dressing rooms. The throwing of rice, confetti or birdseed is not allowed, due to liability.

The couple may wish to use the traditional vows and wording of the ceremony, or may write their own service with the guidance and approval of the pastor. There are natural places in the service for readings and musical solos, which the pastor will describe. If the couple is comfortable with standing before the congregation, it is recommended that for the profession of their vows, the couple stand behind the Communion Table facing the congregation.

The Marriage service ordinarily lasts about half an hour (30-45 minutes).

The Wedding Rehearsal takes place the day prior to the Wedding, lasting One hour and providing all the participants in the Bridal party the opportunity to feel comfortable with their roles and responsibilities. All of the participants in the Bridal party: parents, bridesmaids, flower-girls, ring-bearers, ushers, readers need to attend this rehearsal.


In most worship services the pastor serves as the Liturgical Celebrant, reciting the prayers, offering the Blessing and Assurance of Pardon, Breaking the bread and Pouring the wine, Laying hands upon those being Baptized and Ordained. In the Wedding Service, the pastor Calls the congregation to Worship, and Questions the participants of their Intentions. The readings are interpreted and applied by the pastor in a Sermon meditation. Following the Statements of Intent, when the Couple professes their vows, the couple become the Celebrants, sharing with those in attendance as witnesses, the covenant, which they create and affirm before God. At the conclusion of the service, the pastor blesses the marriage with a Prayer of Thanksgiving, a Declaration of Marriage and Benediction.

The pastor's role includes:
Providing appropriate parameters within Christianity and the Presbyterian Church. Suggesting alternatives, which might be considered for how elements take place. Counseling to allow the couple to hear each other's concerns and consider issues. Advocating for the rights and responsibilities of the couple to friends and family. Liturgical planning for the smooth flow and celebration of your faith and love.

As the pastor counsels with you, guides you through your marriage service and signs the license, the pastor establishes a relationship of blessing with you. Throughout the years as your marriage grows, please keep in contact with the pastor, calling upon him for continued counsel, arbitration with family members, baptism of children and anniversary celebrations in which you renew your marriage vows.


The Church Custodian will make certain that the Church is unlocked and locked up again when the service is completed. While the Custodian will vacuum and assist with set-up, please respect his time by providing your own clean up and moving through any photographing as quickly as possible.


The pastor will be willing to serve as reader, or if there are friends or family members the couple would like to have read, the pastor will work with them on using the sound system appropriately. Persons selected to be readers should be able to speak clearly and emphatically before an audience.

The pastor will work with the couple on selecting readings, which will add to and accentuate their wedding service.
Several passages especially appropriate for weddings are:

  • Genesis 2:20-25 Adam & Eve are bone of bone and flesh of flesh
  • Genesis 24:61-67 Isaac and Rebekah's Love at 1st Sight
  • Ruth 1:16-17 Wherever you go I will go
  • John 2:1-11 The Wedding at Cana


The State Marriage License must be secured by the couple appearing together before the City, Town or Village Clerk where the couple resides. The License can be secured no more than 60 days prior to the wedding day and no less than 24 hours prior. It is suggested that the License be brought to the Church Office at the time of the Rehearsal.


Fees for the use of the Church shall be subject to the following schedule of fees:

  1. Use of Church - Church Members $500, Non-Members $1,000

  2. Organist - Wedding and Rehearsal $200

  3. Minister - Members Discretionary, Non-Members $200 (Includes pre-marital counseling, rehearsal and wedding.)
It is suggested fees be sent to the Church Office no later than a week prior to the wedding. A $50 deposit for Use of Church (non-refundable) is required to hold the date and time. The couple is choosing to be married as adults and all expenses of the wedding will be the responsibility of the couple.


The Bride and her attendants routinely dress at the Church in a room reserved for this. Dresses can be brought to the Church at the time of the rehearsal, if this is convenient. The Groom and Ushers need to be at the Church for the greeting and seating of the guests one hour prior to the wedding. There are also photographs that can be taken prior to the wedding, which will speed the couple's getting to the reception following the service. Therefore, the full Bridal party needs to be at the Church a minimum of one hour before the wedding is to begin.


There are many alternatives for how the couple will enter the Sanctuary at the time of the wedding. The pastor will be willing to walk the couple through different possibilities during the planning of the wedding.

Traditionally, the Groom's parents are seated following the last of the guests, then the Bride's mother is seated, the candelabras are lit. Then the pastor leads the Groom and his attendants into the Sanctuary from outside the Chancel; the end Bridesmaid enters first, then each in turn comes forward to the Table. When the Bride enters, the mothers lead the congregation in rising, with the Bride escorted by her father as far as his seat; the Groom then joins the Bride and the couple then come to the Table together. Both parents of the Bride could also escort her up the aisle.

Another traditional processional has the Ushers and Bridesmaids entering up the aisle together, the Groom and Bride could each be escorted by both their parents, respective.

The attendants may also come up as escorted pairs.


If the couple chooses to have a candle lighting, the couple will need to provide the Unity Candle. The Church will provide the Candle lighters. The Tapers can be lit by the ushers prior to the opening of the Worship service, where upon the couple, following the LORD's Prayer will unite their flames into one fire which lights the new candle. If the couple wishes to involve the parents in the service, the parents can use candle lighters to bring the flame from the candelabra to the tapers, symbolizing a bringing of all the generations and traditions which have shaped the couple as individuals, which the couple then unite together.


The couple can arrange to have two bouquets of flowers provided in inserts that will fit inside the brass urns. These urns are not to leave the Church property. If bows are to be attached to the pews, these should be attached with rubber bands or other means that will not mar the finish of the wood by leaving a residue.


Photography and videotaping are permitted in designated areas, using natural lighting and respecting the wedding as a service worshipping God. Photographs can be reposed following the service, but during the worship service aisles are to be clear and the procession is not to be stopped or encumbered. Video Cameras are to be stationary mounted either on the side corners or up the center aisle where they will have an unencumbered view and are out of the way.



Non-members: Your reservation will not be completed until the Church office receives your $50 non-refundable deposit. Please mail your checks payable to First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles to 97 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles NY 13152. This deposit will be applied toward the $1,000 fee for use of the facility. The Organist's fee and Pastor's honorarium are separate. These may be forwarded to the Church Office along with the remainder of the Use Fee a week prior to the wedding.




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The First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles is the oldest congregation in the village. It was organized July 20, 1801, by the Rev. Aaron Bascom, who ...

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Presbyterian Church (USA)97 East Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152 / Directions
Phone: (315) 685-5048 / Email Us
Worship @ 9:30am every Sunday